Archives for August 2022

Miranda, Sept. 1st Pet of the Week

Don’t be fooled by Miranda’s stern countenance. She just finished a cuddle session with a volunteer and is purrrfectly content. That’s just her RFF (resting feline face). Miranda is 6 years old and has been at the shelter for four months. She has some treatable health issues, and she also has a sweet, mellow disposition. She’d make a perfect lap cat. Staff and volunteers urgently request rescue, foster or a committed adopter to take over her care. Her adoption fee will be sponsored by a generous donor. Shelter hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 7700 E. Spring St. at the entrance to El Dorado Park (no parking fee for shelter visitors). You can email PetAdopt@longbeach.gov to speed the process for adopting or fostering Miranda. Ask for ID#A673873).

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Champions of Magic Tour Headed to  CITY NATIONAL GROVE OF ANAHEIM

The five world-class illusionists that make up this mind-bending theatrical production are back on tour in 2022, following sell out shows across the globe, rave reviews and a run in London’s West End. Catch this incredible show for the whole family at City National Grove of Anaheim on September 30 and October 1, 2022. Tickets start from just $49.

Tickets for Champions Of Magic are on sale now and can be purchased online at https://www.championsofmagic.co.uk or  ticketmaster.com.

With more than 50 million online views between them, this cast of top magicians includes international award-winners presenting incredible mind reading, stunning close-up magic and daring large-scale illusions. Their skills have been seen on screen around the world with appearances on The CW’s ‘Penn & Teller: Fool Us’, NBC’s ‘Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon’, ‘The Today Show’ & ‘Access Hollywood Live’.

The Champions Of Magic team perform incredible interactive illusions, an impossible escape from Houdini’s water torture cell, a mind-blowing prediction that has to be seen to be believed, levitation high above the stage and a finale beyond explanation. The show features spectacular magic that can’t be seen anywhere else. 

Now’s your chance to see why fans return to see one of the world’s biggest touring illusion shows time and time again.

Don’t miss your chance to catch some of the greatest magicians on the planet in Anaheim, California with a show that never fails to amaze.

Show Dates: September 30 and October 1

Show Times: 7:30pm each night

Venue: City National Grove of Anaheim

Pre-Sale: 5/4 at 10 am PST

On-Sale: 5/6 at 10 am PST

Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com  

Venue Event Page – https://www.citynationalgroveofanaheim.com/events/detail/champions-of-magic 

Credit: Champions Of Magic.

Family-Friendly Americana in the Park Concert Series Kicks off in Santa Monica’s Gandara Park This Sunday

Masanaga Marimba performing at Americana in the Park 2021. Photo by Halline Overby.  

McCabe’s Guitar Shop, in partnership with the City of Santa Monica, presents the second annual Americana in the Park concert series in Gandara Park, Sundays in September (4, 11, 18 & 25), from 4 – 7 p.m. The free series explores the arc of Americana music from its roots to modern forms, showcasing a diverse group of Southern California artists and styles. Each concert features a family-friendly headliner and opener. 

Americana in the Park is made possible by Art of Recovery, an initiative of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs. Harnessing the arts to continue playing a major role in the City’s recovery efforts, the initiative provides local artists and organizations funding and support from the City to bring engaging projects and events to the Santa Monica community. The concert series is an example of an Art of Recovery goal to expand access to the arts throughout the city through community partnerships. 

The concert series lineup includes: 

  • September 4: Singer-songwriter, poet, author and culture bearer Tina Orduno Calderon, will open the series with a Tongva land acknowledgment and blessing.  A performance by nine-time world champion Native hoop dancer Eric Hernandez will kick off the performances, followed by Prince Diabaté and Friends. Considered to be one of the leading kora players of his generation,  Prince Diabaté and Friends brings not only total mastery over his ancestral tradition, but a commitment to renew it through fresh ideas and exchanges with musicians from many cultures.
  • September 11: Comprised of teachers and staff from McCabe’s Guitar Shop, the McCabe’s Hootenanny Collective invites attendees to bring their instrument of choice and to join a sing-along free-for-all. Next up the bluegrass group AJ Lee and Blue Summit perform a blend of country, soul, swing, rock and jam musical influences.
  • September 18: Folk rockin’ children’s music group Earthworm Ensemble will open for I See Hawks in L.A., a leading Southern California alternative country, Americana and folk rock band. 
  • September 25: The soul and jazz-inspired music of Jacob G. and the Score will open for Little Willie G. Nicknamed “The Godfather of Brown-Eyed Soul,” vocalist Little Willie G. gained fame with Thee Midniters in the 1960s and continues to thrill audiences with his local East L.A. brass-infused Chicano soul music. 

Each concert will feature rotating food trucks and a McCabe’s Guitar Pop-Up Shop. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. 

The Americana in the Park concert series will be held in accordance with the most current guidance from state and local health agencies. For more information visit: SantaMonica.gov/Americana-in-the-Park. 

Americana in the Park Concert Series

Sundays, September 4, 11, 18, 25 from 4 – 7 p.m.
Gandara Park, Santa Monica

Date: September 4

Headliner: Prince Diabaté and Friends

Opener: Eric Hernandez 

Tongva Land Acknowledgment and Blessing: Tina Orduno Calderon

Date: September 11

Headliner: A.J. Lee and Blue Summit 

Opener: McCabe’s Hootenanny Collective 

Date: September 18

Headliner: I See Hawks in L.A. 

Opener: Earthworm Ensemble

Date: September 25

Headliner: Little Willie G. 

Opener: Jacob G. and The Score

Credit:

McCabe’s Guitar Shop 

McCabe’s® is a musical instrument store, concert venue, repair shop, and music school that opened in 1958. The store specializes in acoustic and folk instruments: guitars, ukuleles, banjos, mandolins, dulcimers (hammered and plucked), fiddles, bouzoukis, sitars, ouds, and ethnic percussion. McCabe’s also carries electrics, amps, and accessories. McCabes.com | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Santa Monica Cultural Affairs

Santa Monica Cultural Affairs brings the City’s art scene to life for residents and visitors by supporting engaging cultural activities for all ages throughout the year. Cultural Affairs nurtures local arts organizations, promotes artist engagement in the community, and is the steward of the City’s public art collection. The Division also provides grants to local arts nonprofits and individual artists, as well as hosts a number of artist residencies at the Camera Obscura Art Lab and Annenberg Community Beach House, enriching Santa Monica’s reputation as an international cultural destination. santamonica.gov/arts | Facebook 

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law * An Adrenaline-Fueled, Adventurous Journey That Jumps Into Action From the Get Go!

In Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) –an attorney specializing in superhuman-oriented legal cases –must navigate the complicated life of a single, 30-something who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered hulk.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Sydney S. comments, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is a series that jumpstarts into action. It’s an adrenaline-fueled, adventurous journey that ties into Marvel superhero movies. The series tells the engaging story about a lawyer who might lose her job due to some very interesting conditions.” See her full review below.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is a series that jumpstarts into action. It’s an adrenaline-fueled, adventurous journey that ties into Marvel superhero movies. The series tells the engaging story about a lawyer who might lose her job due to some very interesting conditions.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law features Jennifer Walters, an attorney living in Los Angeles. Jen happens to be the cousin of Bruce Banner (the Hulk). Unexpectedly, Jen and Bruce got into a car crash. After the crash, some of Bruce’s blood got into Jen’s wounds, which caused her to transform into an adapted version of the Hulk—hence, the name She-Hulk. 

The main characters in this series are She-Hulk/Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Nikki Ramos (Ginger Gonzaga), Titania (Jameela Jamil) and Abomination (Tim Roth). These actors impersonate their characters incredibly well. Additionally, the sets and animation are extremely realistic. When there is a fight, the animation made my heart beat super fast. In the first episode, my favorite part is when Bruce is training Jen to learn how to control the intense amount of strength she has. After demonstrating how to throw boulders, for example, she adapts quickly, and sometimes even does the exercise better than the Hulk himself. I also appreciate the quote when Bruce proclaims that what triggers turning into a hulk is anger and fear, and Jen responds, “Those are like the baseline of any women existing.” It’s hilarious and also true. I would recommend watching previous Marvel movies, especially the ones that include the Hulk. However, it’s not a necessity, although it would help knowing the backstory of how hulks were created.

The message of this series is that females can be strong, too. I believe that the “She-Hulk” nickname isn’t merely random, but has a meaning to it, which is female empowerment. Furthermore, this series establishes that women’s emotions are normal, and that it is okay to have strong feelings, including anger. There is a lot of fighting and violence, and it has rough language. If young kids have seen other Marvel movies with parent/guardian approval, they should be fine watching this series.

I give She-Hulk: Attorney at Law 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. The first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law begins streaming on Disney+ August 18, 2022. Each upcoming episode streams every Thursday after that.

TRAILER:

Eating Healthy Just Got Easier & More Fun at the L.A. Zoo  

L.A. ZOO CELEBRATES “KIDS EAT RIGHT MONTH” WITH THE OPENING OF BEAN SPROUTS CAFE

I love going to the L.A. Zoo and I have to admit I don’t always eat there but that has now definitely changed with the opening of Bean Sprouts Cafe!

The Los Angeles Zoo is excited to debut its newest dining concept—Bean Sprouts Cafe—a kid-friendly dining option that specializes in healthy foods for visitors of all ages. Bean Sprouts’ award-winning children’s menu, with items like Grilledzilla and Do-Re-For-Me, empowers kids to make their own healthy choices through a visual menu display. Guests can order a variety of pizza, smoothies, and sandwiches as well as “Imaginibbles,” a signature line of themed, hand-held foods designed to make eating healthy fun. Bean Sprouts adheres to strict ingredient guidelines and features organic and sustainable foods, compostable packaging, and eco-friendly design.  

“The Zoo is thrilled to refresh its dining experience and provide Angelenos with healthy, accessible, and family-friendly food for all,” said Denise M. Verret, CEO & Zoo Director, Los Angeles Zoo. “We could not have accomplished this worthwhile partnership with Bean Sprouts without the initiative and tenacity of our concession partner, the SSA Group. Our guests will now be able to enjoy even more delicious and sustainable food options when visiting their Los Angeles Zoo.” 

The brightly colored cafe is located in the South America section of the Zoo and will feature Bean Sprouts’ line of signature themed, hand-held foods, including Do-re-for-me, sunflower butter and organic jam;  Grilledzilla, gooey grilled cheese and vegetables; Flutter Bite, turkey, cheese, mayonnaise, and vegetables; as well as sandwiches, The Great Turkado and Chicken Pesto Chango; cheese and pepperoni pizza; snacks; smoothies; classic and raspberry lemonades; and more. Adults, discerning eaters, and those with food restrictions will delight in the deliciously fun food offerings now available at the Los Angeles Zoo.  

I actually had the opportunity to taste some of their items and was quite impressed! The sandwiches are amazing! I love how fresh they taste!

To learn more, visit https://www.lazoo.org/plan-your-visit/food-shopping/

Self Disclosure: I had the opportunity to visit Bean Sprouts Cafe to facilitate this post. Photo Credit: SoCal City Kids.

Never Have I Ever: Season 3 * Season 3 Returns With More Drama And Great Young Adult Messages

Never Have I Ever is an American coming-of-age comedy-drama television series starring Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher. Though it takes place in the San Fernando Valley, the show is loosely based on Kaling’s childhood experiences in the Boston area. In the third season, Devi and Paxton have become an official couple much to the school’s shock. After being shamed in the girl’s bathroom and given advice by Dr. Ryan, Devi realizes that being in a relationship will not solve all her problems. After a confrontation with Zoe, she realizes that Paxton might not stay in a relationship with her if she doesn’t have sex with him. After a conversation with Kamala, she realizes she is not ready to lose her virginity and Paxton supports her as well. Meanwhile, following Kamala’s departure from Prashant’s engagement dinner, the latter decides it is best for them to break up, much to Devi’s grandmother’s dismay while Fabiola, realizing that a long-distance relationship with Eve is taking a toll on her grades, decides to break up with her.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “The third season of this teen “rom-dramedy” is back and even more drama filled! Existing fans and new fans will enjoy this new season of Never Have I Ever as it picks up where it left off in season two and continues to deliver young adult entertainment.” See her full review below.

Never Have I Ever: Season 3

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

The third season of this teen “rom-dramedy” is back and even more drama filled! Existing fans and new fans will enjoy this new season of Never Have I Ever as it picks up where it left off in season two and continues to deliver young adult entertainment.

The story of hotheaded but lovable Devi Vishmakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) continues as she goes through the challenges of high school. And her love triangle with Ben (Jaren Lewison) and Paxton (Darren Barnet) isn’t nearly over yet.  

Since this is the third season, I highly recommend watching the previous seasons to catch up on everything in the storyline thus far. Returning fans will love that the series stays consistent with its themes: dramatic irony and horrible decision-making. The entire cast is super talented with the best performances coming from Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Devi), Jaren Lewison (Ben) and Poorna Jagannathan (Dr. Nalini.) As always, Maitreyi keeps the perfect balance of being rash and rage-filled with being sweet and relatable. She really makes you love to love and to hate her character. Jaren, similarly to Maitreyi, can be very cocky at points, but you can’t help but forgive him. Poorna Jagannathan, while still the same person in essence, really morphs into a new character in this season. My favorite character is Dr. Jamie Ryan (Niecy Nash) because she delivers comedic relief while also providing comfort.                              

The messages of Never Have I Ever are similar to season one and two. Essentially, they are to make good decisions and think things through, while also remembering to have some fun along the way. The series also shows how powerful love from friends and family can be. There is profanity and some suggestive material.

I give Never Have I Ever 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. It comes out on Netflix on August 12, 2022.

Trailer:

13: The Musical * Outstanding Acting, Great  Choreography And Terrific Ensemble Of Young Actors

13: The Musical centers on Evan Goldman, who, after his parent’s divorce, moves from NYC to small-town Indiana and must master the complex social circles of his new school and win friends by turning his Bar Mitzvah into the coolest party of the year. McNellis plays Lucy, a popular and mischievous cheerleader who has a crush on the boy that her best friend Kendra also likes. She plots an elaborate scheme to prevent them from kissing, roping in an unwitting Evan. The role, which originally starred Elizabeth Gillies on Broadway, also features one of the most elaborate and impressive musical numbers (Opportunity) of the whole film, with Frankie leading the song and dance routine. 

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Heather S., comments, “13: The Musical is the perfect teen film! A relatable protagonist and outstanding acting help audiences see themselves in this movie. Elaborate choreography and an ensemble of young actors make you feel like you’re watching a Broadway production.” See her full review and interviews below.

13: The Musical

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

13: The Musical is the perfect teen film! A relatable protagonist and outstanding acting help audiences see themselves in this movie. Elaborate choreography and an ensemble of young actors make you feel like you’re watching a Broadway production. 

13: The Musical follows Evan Goldman (Eli Golden), a twelve-year-old boy whose life has been turned upside down when his parents divorce. He prepares for his bar mitzvah and moves from New York to Indiana as he tries to figure out who he is and what he wants from life.

This film hits every mark. The soundtrack is upbeat with catchy tunes; the dance numbers are exciting; and the acting takes center stage. Eli’s performance as Evan is remarkable as it’s light and relatable. He’s a triple threat as his acting, singing, and dancing are superb. He’s a rising star. Everyone can remember themselves as being thirteen when watching Eli portray Evan. The film is a perfect translation of the Broadway show. Every dance and song capture the greatness of its predecessor.

This film sets standards for what movies aimed at teenage audiences should be. This accurate representation of kids transitioning into teens is what viewers crave watching. Evan’s desire for independence and uncertainty of who he’s supposed to be is a bright take on our youthful years. He struggles with his parents’ divorce and moving to a new town. He learns what it means to be a good friend and what love really is. His friend, Patrice (Gabriella Uhl), really steals the show. She’s funny and kind, the type of friend anyone would want to have. Her chemistry with Evan makes viewers want more of this unlikely duo. This movie is visually beautiful. Every character wears bright colors; the lighting balances out the wardrobes, turning each scene into aesthetic pastel shots. Each character shines in their own way, intriguing viewers to find out more about them. All their personalities make this friend group as interesting as possible. Other standout cast members include Rhea Perlman, Josh Peck, Debra Messing and Lindsey Blackwell.

The moral of the film is that it’s okay to not know who you are. Evan tries to solve all of his problems before his bar mitzvah. Throughout the movie he learns that life is messy and fun and to enjoy every moment of it.

I give 13: The Musical 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. It begins streaming on Netflix August 12, 2022.

Trailer:

Prevent the Summer Slide with Amazing Book Subscription Boxes!

Summer isn’t over yet! Although school has started for many kids, these subscription boxes really are great all year round! OwlCrate is a monthly subscription box for people who love Young Adult literature. Every month they send you a highly anticipated new YA release, as well as 3-5 bookish items (such as fandom jewelry, collectible toys, bookmarks and more!). Each box also includes exclusive content from authors and publishers too. They ship anywhere in the world: www.owlcrate.com.

I actually received a sample subscription box from Owl Crate Jr. and was quite impressed! It is full of such cool goodies! OwlCrate Jr.- Spark a lifetime love of reading with OwlCrate Jr.’s monthly subscription box for kids ages 8-12. What’s really cool about OwlCrate is that subscribers get more than just a book—they get a whole themed experience including 4-6 goodies, a hardcover book, at least one usable item or activity to encourage creativity, imagination and exploration, plus an exclusive letter from the author and a collectible monthly sticker. Each monthly box is curated for kids of all genders and the books are published within 45 days of ship date. The books are either standalone stories or the first in a new series. Past themes included Code Breakers, Bump in the Night, Rebels & Rulebreakers and more! Available for one time box, three or six month subscriptions. More information: www.owlcratejr.com.

Self Disclosure: I received a free sample to facilitate this post. Photo Credit: SoCal City Kids.